William Morris Award


William E. Morris Pro Bono Service Award

Awarded to recognize extraordinary contributions by an Arizona Attorney in making legal services available to persons who otherwise could not afford them, and thereby to focus public awareness on the substantial voluntary services by Arizona attorneys in this area. Renamed in 2000 to honor the memory of William E. Morris, a long-time attorney for the poor in Arizona.

Nominations are due March 1st and are to include the individual's name; firm if applicable; address & other contact information; the award for which they are being nominated and contact information of the nominators; a summary of their characteristics, experiences, and service that qualifies them for the award; and support letters from others may be included. The nomination packets should be sent to The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, ATTN: Kevin S. Ruegg, 4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, AZ 85016 or email to info@azflse.org.

Awards Acknowledged in conjunction with the Foundation participation in the annual Arizona State Bar Convention.

2018 Awardee


Nancy Tribbensee

Dedicating 20 years of pro bono service, Nancy has exemplified her dedication and drive in serving at-need Arizonans. The Volunteer Lawyers Program expressed their great appreciation for her commitment to excellence and immense compassion, which is clear in all her years of service. She has shown a specific interest in providing pro bono services to children, specifically those at are at-risk minors. Nancy has represented over 40 minor guardianship cases, and has also taken on cases involving grandparents as guardians, incarcerated parents, disability, abuse, and neglect. In addition, she has helped many individuals with refugee statuses who had complicated cases (e.g. needing legal documentation).

Nancy is constantly engaging with the Arizonan in attempt to make positive changes in our state. She has always demonstrated an interest in fostering and advising young lawyers, as she has mentored over 250 volunteer attorneys in child-specific legal matters. She also serves as Senior Vice President and General Counsel to the Arizona Board of Regents. The community is appreciative of her kindness and devotion to at-need Arizonans.

2017 Awardee


Lee Bennett

Lee Bennett has volunteered for Community Legal Services Volunteer Lawyer Program for the last 6 years. In that time he has served at least 385 families, spent half a day each week at the VLP office interviewing and advising people, and provided additional assistance outside of the initial clinic to do further investigation to help advocate for the client.  He provided extensive representation to 5 clients with complex civil legal problems.  Lee provides efficient and effective interviews and case summaries enabling VLP to better determine if full representation is needed or to help aid another potential volunteer attorney in taking the case.

In one case, Mr. Bennett worked with a woman who was disable by a rare blood disease. Lee helped for 18 months and obtained an economic benefit of $202,553 for the client on a home ownership issue.

The justice community thanks Lee for the quantity and quality of his pro bono service and his outstanding commitment to helping clients.


2016 Awardee

Denice Shepherd

Denice's practice does not lend itself to high profile cases.  You will not read about her in the newspaper or see her on television.  But she has quietly built a career helping those most in need.  Denice joined the Southern Arizona Legal Aid Volunteer Lawyer Program in 1996.  Over the course of the last twenty years Denice has assisted children and families with minor guardianships, wills, powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney and small probate matters.

In addition to providing direct representation to clients, Denice frequently participates in the VLP's Minor Guardianship Clinic where she supervises law students as they meet with unrepresented clients at their guardianship hearings in Probate Court. 

Denice's volunteer work goes beyond the VLP to working on the Reid Park Zoological Society Board and being active in Arizona Women's Lawyer Association.

Skip Skinner

Katherine McLeod


Stanley Friedman


Rob Ferrier


Ben Smith


David Sanderson


Dean Christoffel


Debra Hill


Cary Inabinet

Tom Roberts

Scott Gan

David Engelman

Pamela Liberty

Alyce Pennington

Luis Ochoa

Steven Cox

Wayne Yehling

Michael McGrath

Christina Urias

Philip (Jay) McCarthy, Jr.

Michael J. Tucker

Dianne C. Kerns (Sole Practitioner) Robert E. Mites

Hon. Robert W. Pickrell (Sole Practitioner) Thomas M. Lyon

Rev. David A. Meyers

Lawrence A. Hammond

Nancy M. Coomer

John A. Greene

William T. Birmingham

Ted F. Warner


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